"“As this becomes so nonsensical, it prevents the title from being at all scary...”"

If there is one thing you can guarantee when settling down to watch the latest Rob Zombie movie, is that it's not going to be a romantic comedy. Sadly the other guarantee, is that there is a very good chance it's not going to be very good either – as the man behind the 2007 Halloween remake, returns with his latest picture The Lords of Salem.

We follow the life of radio DJ Heidi Hawthorne (Sheri Moon Zombie), who lives alone in an apartment flat in the city of Salem. One day she is sent a mysterious record to play on the radio, a disturbing yet somewhat entrancing piece of music that comes to her as a gift from the 'Lords'. This strange song has the power to possess all of the women who may hear it in Salem, triggering distressing flashbacks and headaches for Heidi every time it plays. This mystifying group then proceed to send over tickets and promotional material for their upcoming show, and it seems that such an event could well prove to be a gateway for the Lords of Salem – rich in local and haunting folklore, to return. 

The concept to The Lords of Salem is a fascinating and chilling one – the idea that this unusual piece of music can possess any Salem-based woman who may hear it, as the music proves to be a catalyst for pure horror – in a similar vein to what The Ring managed with videotapes. However that aspect is not explored nearly enough, as we focus too heavily on the declining mental state of Heidi, proceeding to go too far off topic and to be frank, downright ridiculous. It gets so over the top it's almost as though Zombie felt the chance was there to be full-on absurd and go for cult status rather than make a genuinely terrifying movie. With a name like Rob Zombie, you wouldn't exactly put that past him.

Due to the fact that The Lords of Salem becomes so nonsensical, it prevents the title from being at all scary, which is a shame. That said, Zombie doesn't seem to be going for full on chills, as a film that is equally as much a character study of one woman, slowly deteriorating as she watches her life deflate in front of her very own eyes, ever since the arrival of this unnamed record. However, her unpredictable and unreliable perspective can be frustrating to the viewer – as at times when something seems truly chilling, it's soon met with the conspicuous shot of her awaking in bed, realising it had just been a harrowing dream. Such a technique simply causes the viewer to get somewhat fed up, losing faith in the filmmaker.

However the one aspect where this film truly excels, is within the song itself, as it's genuinely haunting, and it's certainly a piece of music that stays in your head – a necessity as we need it to be eerie and disturbing to believe in this story. However believing in this film ends abruptly there, as the over sensationalist acting is laughable, particularly in regards to Heidi's landlord (Judy Geeson) and her two sisters. The Lords of Salem may not be taking itself too seriously, but there are certainly points when you laugh when you definitely aren't supposed to.

Meanwhile Moon Zombie is impressive as the lead, and the audience do care and sympathise with her plight. What helps in this regard is that our very first meeting with her, is as she lays asleep in bed, completely naked. This technique helps add a vulnerability to our lead, which is something we need for help us care for her safety in the latter stages. Well, it's either that or Rob Zombie just wants us to see his wife's bottom.

Despite the intriguing premise, sadly The Lords of Salem just has too many supporting stories and characters that offer very little and don't seem to truly go anywhere – as we watch on as the story heads steadily downhill. Zombie's Halloween was an expected, lacklustre attempt at remaking a classic horror spectacle – and this is merely a disappointing effort at creating an original film. Perhaps making a romantic comedy  is not such a bad idea after all.